P.O. Box 903
Mancelona, MI 49659

SNAIL MAIL WELCOME ~ we love to hear from you!
No Internet...no fancy phone.


Friday, December 31, 2010

Holiday Farm Chores

Christmas day, away from home visiting family, I thought of Russ.
He stayed back.  He stayed home.



Family gatherings and farm chores don't always mix.


This year, it was no different.


I used to question.



But no more.



I understand the need for structure.



The need for consistency.



Our animals thrive on it.



And the rewards are given back...



Tenfold.



Happy New Year to all our friends.



Those of you who visit this daily snippet of our lives, do understand. 



And know the pleasure of living simple.



And living with less.
Which, in the end, is so much more...



Best wishes for the New Year...!

Happy 2011.






Tuesday, December 28, 2010

White Mountain

Tonight, as I was making my nightly dog-trail trek to the Wee House,
I couldn't hold back a knowing grin.

Tomorrow would be my last day of employment. 
I will no longer work for the State of Michigan.
I will be officially retired.



It's been a good ride. 
A good job.

But now, it's time to live a life like I've envisioned for a long, long time.



As I was smiling in the dark tonight,
I couldn't help but picture in my mind's eye Iditarod champion Lance Mackey
as he crossed the finish line in 2007, when he exclaimed to his wife Tonya,
"Life just changed...life just changed..."

That is exactly how I will feel tomorrow night as I leave the door of DHS one last time.

But tonight, I feel like I'm at the Iditarod checkpoint of White Mountain...
waiting for my 8-hour layover to wind down,
so tomorrow morning I can make that one final trek. 

One final day at my desk, in my office,
answering to hundreds of clients, before I am set free. 
At the finish line. 
Ready for a new adventure.

Ready for 1/3 Living...


Monday, December 27, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Away in the Manger

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were filled with fear.




And the angel said to them,
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."
Luke 2:9-12

Merry Christmas from Russ and Sherry at
Russ-Stick Acres...










Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Total Eclipse of the Heart

The lunar eclipse on the same day as the winter solstice.

Big doin's in the sky.



I woke at 2 a.m., on my own, and made a trip to the frosty outhouse. 
At that time, the moon was half eclipsed. 

I shrugged and stood outside for a few minutes in the nearly single digit cold,
wondering where the beautiful moonlight had gone. 

Quite frankly, I felt robbed. 

It was getting darker, and dreary. 

It was then I decided I wasn't a fan of the full moon eclipse. 
I love the full moon too much to give up any part...for any reason.
Wonderful things have happened in my life, during a full moon. 

I believe our 20+ sled dogs felt the same way.
As if on cue, they began a slow, mournful howl that carried into the night's sky. 
One I had never heard before and perhaps never will again. 
Sled dogs howl for many reasons. 
A "thank you howl" at the end of feeding. 
A "don't leave for work" howl. 
A "member of the pack died" howl. 
A "rainy day" howl. 
And last night, I heard a howl that mourned the loss of the full moon. 

The beautiful light, illuminating shimmering crystals of snow, was gone. 
In its place - darkness.




Sunday, December 19, 2010

FLASH MOB - Russ-Stick Style

Our Farm Flash Mob.

They may not be singing Hallelujah...



Or know the lyrics to "Don't Stop Believin'"...by Journey.



Or know about the fuss Glee is causing.
(Click on the link to check it out...)


Sheep photo taken at Amish Farm.
Our Flash Mobs are quieter...
but no less orchestrated.



All you need is one excited participant to begin.



Then you've got something to crow about.



Don't hide...join in.



Joy comes in many forms. 
Even a Flash Mob.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

1/3 Living - Laughter

This past week has been difficult. 
I'm saying goodbye to a lifetime of "clocking in".  Of being confined in an office setting.
A fellow co-worker, who has long since passed away, said it best...
"We're bureaucratic moles..."
We arrive to the office at dark, we leave at dark. 
Doesn't leave much of a life.


I'm retiring from State employment.
From determining who's eligible for this and that...



The obligatory party is over.  Congrats are said. 
Now the reality begins.



Upon arriving home Friday night from yet another party, it struck me.  
I've been hiding under the guise of work.
Of being too busy to be "me".



But that comes to an end.  Here and now.
No more excuses. 
No more looking in on life, but being too busy to participate.
No more "Weekend Warrior".



The time is near.  I'll soon be cut loose.
I'll be home. 
I'll be plugged in.



After arriving home Friday night, teeming with emotion,
I trudged through the snow up to the Wee House, carrying a festive gift bag, 
to open in the quiet of the night by the glow of the firelight.
It was from my dear friend, Mo.
Mo and I have a common bond. 
Laughter.
Upon peeling back the tissue, I see she has given me a plaque, with a card to match.
Laugh until it Hurts.
Smiling, I placed it on the shelf over my computer to view daily in the coming years.
Laughter - it must be a component of my daily routine.
It won't be difficult, as my life partner and husband, Russ, is firmly rooted in laughter.
I hope it's not too late for me to get it back...seeing the joy in everything.
This new 1/3 Living is going to be tough, in so many ways,
but the joys and freedom it will bring should produce one sure crop. 
Laughter.
And we plan to Laugh until it Hurts.

Stay tuned as we explore the ways to live on little, but have more. 
Project "Less is More" is about to kick in on 1/3 Living.



Friday, December 17, 2010

Free-Rangers

See if you can count the "wild" animals in this photo.




Tuesday, December 14, 2010

'Tis the Season

For breeding pigs...


There's been lots of squeals this past week.

Some from delight, some from surprise.

According to our handy Pig Pregnancy Calendar,
we expect 2 litters around April Fool's Day.

No foolin'. 


Monday, December 13, 2010

I'll Fly Away...

Just a few more weary days and then...I'll fly away.

To that land where joy will never end...I'll fly away.



Nine more (work) days until I retire...and then...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Running Dogs Daily

Mushers are nodding their heads.  All knowing.

Non-mushers may be scratching their heads.

What does Running Dogs Daily actually mean?


For us, it means we have switched from Horse training...



To dog training.



And getting settled into the rhythm of the winter months.



Of play, and work.



Hauling provisions for our wood stoves.



And just enjoying the day with our furried friends.



We hope you are getting your winter rhythms set also...


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Silent Night...Holy Night

I love simple.
Sun, rain, snow, wind.
Nature.
So it stands to reason I love being in my little hide-a-way. 



The Wee House.

I love the end of the night, when I turn off the computer, unscrew my reading lamp's lightbulb (the on/off chain fell off months ago), and dive into total darkness.

However, the darkness doesn't last but a few blinks of the eye...
because the world outside enters through the windows and fills the Wee with wonder.

Still, calm, and silent. 
The quiet of the night invites the Lord. 
Pure peace. 




Silent night.
I hear Zip let out a sigh, and resume her gentle breathing. 

The moonlit night filling the Wee joins hands with the flicker of the wood stove's hot fire,
dancing a jig of amber reflections through the glass stove door.
It fills the night with natural light, one that makes me smile with joy.

Holy night.
Sweet wood aroma fills my small nest. 
I can see snow resting on the tree limbs outside.
It's a good feeling to know all the animals are warm in their sleeping quarters.
And so are we. 

Sleep in Heavenly Peace...



Friday, December 10, 2010

Winter at the Wee

It's here...


A white winter.



Cold and beautiful.



Sometimes a tad overwhelming...



But always elegent.



May all your winters be white and wonderful.